New Monument Proposed for Lakefront
National foundation proposes monument near War Memorial Center to families who lost loved ones in war.
A national foundation is planning to build a monument to “Gold Star families” on the grounds of the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center at the lakefront.
“This monument is intended to honor and pay tribute to those families who have lost a loved one or a family member in service,” Dale Egan, vice president of the Woody Williams Foundation recently told the county board’s Committee on Parks and Culture.
According to the foundation’s website, which shows what the memorial looks like, these memorials “are a two-sided tribute made of black granite. One side bears the words: Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, a tribute to Gold Star Families and Relatives who sacrificed a Loved One for our Freedom. On the other side of the monument, there are scenes etched on each of the four panels: Homeland, Family, Patriot and Sacrifice. At the center of this tribute, is a silhouette of a saluting service member which represents the Legacy of the Loved Ones who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our Freedom.”
The foundation is seeking to construct such a monument on the northern end of the War Memorial Grounds, near the border of and just southeast Veterans Park. It is providing all the funding for the project, at $110,000. The funding has been raised from “several public and private companies,” according to the foundation, and once completed it will be donated to the War Memorial Center. The foundation has been working with parks staff on this project since 2016.
Ultimately, authority to approve the proposal on behalf of Milwaukee County rests with County Executive David Crowley. The Wisconsin Legislature changed state law to give the Milwaukee County Executive, specifically, sole authority over all county properties not zoned as parkland. Former County Executive Chris Abele successfully lobbied for this change while he was in office.
The foundation wrote in a letter to representatives of the three unit owners of the cultural condominium saying “We believe this monument is additive to the War Memorial’s existing inclusive mission to ‘Honor the Dead – Serve the Living.'”
“The footprint of this monument is small,” Egan said. The monument will have a radius of 35 feet, he said.
A rendering of the monument shows it is designed as a circle. A circle with a radius of approximately 35 feet will have a total area of approximately 3,800 square feet.
Egan said The Sigma Group, which designed and engineered the new features and the War Memorial parking lot as part of the Greenprint-Milwaukee Shoreline Vision Plan, provided them with the engineering requirements for the paving of the nearby paths, so there will be a seamless transition between those recently completed projects and the proposed memorial.